Canadian Underwriter

Most surveyed drivers have one type of emergency supply in their vehicle trunks, although very few have all types

January 9, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter

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Six of 10 respondents to a recent online survey by KRC Research on behalf of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company would do well to clear the junk from their vehicle trunks and replace it with emergency supplies that can help them manage unexpected car trouble and get safely back on the road.

Results of the survey indicate 61% of respondents have some sort of “junk” in their vehicle trunks, including used food containers, clothes and toys, notes a statement from State Farm.

Driver preparedness could be improved by removing items that are not emergency supplies and adding the proper roadside emergency tools, the company notes.

The survey, carried out from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3, 2013, involved 1,050 drivers among a demographically representative Canadian sample of adults 18 and older. All respondents were required to have a valid Canadian driver’s licence.

Although the lion’s share of surveyed drivers – 97%, in fact – reported having at least one type of emergency supply in their respective vehicle, only 4% indicated they have all essential safety items.

More specifically, 81% of those polled now have a spare tire in the trunk, 75% have a windshield scraper and brush, and 53% have jumper cables.

That said, respondents were less inclined to carry other essential emergency items. Less than half, 45%, reported having a flashlight, 43% had a first aid kit, 41% had blankets or extra clothing, 22% had water and 17% had road flares.

State Farm suggests other trunk essentials include a cellphone and charger; high-calorie, non-perishable food; road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction; a brightly coloured distress sign or “Help” or “Call Police” flag; candle/matches, lighter and/or flashlight; and a tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow for exterior work.

Even for those drivers with emergency supplies in their vehicles, just 34% check to ensure the supplies are in working condition at least twice a year or more, the recommended frequency.

“Ensuring that the roadside emergency equipment in your vehicle works properly is often overlooked,” John Nepomuceno, auto safety research administrator from State Farm, notes in the statement. “A majority of drivers with emergency car supplies are putting themselves at risk by failing to regularly check that their equipment is working properly. The only thing worse than getting a flat tire is finding out that your spare is also flat,” Nepomuceno adds.

“Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. Whether it’s because of a flat tire, an empty fuel tank or treacherous conditions like ice or fog, it’s important to be prepared,” he emphasizes.

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